The 2018 Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International (FHI) was buzzing with excitement Thursday as international competitors and young horses performed their dressage tests. By day's end Bobby Meyerhoff led the way in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI2* Eventing National Championship with his own Almanac (As Di Volare x Fuerst Aphrodites R).
Meyerhoff piloted the 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding straight to the top of the leaderboard on a score of 26.3. Nicknamed "Maniac" in the stables for his occasional erratic behavior, Almanac impressed the judges, and his rider, with his relaxation despite the blustery weather.
"I had a specific plan with him and he warmed up really well," he said. "Yesterday he was a bit fresh and I had to ride him down a little bit and get him where I wanted him, but today was really nice. He went in and did his job. He got a little tense here and there but he was able to keep it under wraps and stay content."
Looking ahead to Saturday's cross-country test, Meyerhoff expects a challenge from designer Derek di Grazia. "It's a nice course. I think there a lot of challenges. Derek has done a great job designing it to look straightforward, nice and pleasant, but knowing his courses and terrain, that's not always how it goes. I think it's going to be a good test."
Only one tenth of a point behind, Caroline Martin is hot on their heels with her own Cristano Z. The 9-year-old Zangersheide gelding earned a score of 26.4. Third place belongs to Jenny Caras and Fernhill Trendy (ARS Vivendi x Cruising Girl), a 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, on 27.1 points.
Dressage continues Friday, October 19 as Dutta FHI welcomes the CCI3* riders and the second half of the CCI2* class. The thrilling cross-country phase will be held Saturday, October 20, and the show jumping finale takes place on Sunday, October 21.
"No matter how old you are, be open to all disciplines, learn how to ride a dressage horse, a gaited horse, a show jumper. Go fox hunting and point-to-pointing and horse showing. You’ll learn from all of them and when you do decide which discipline you want to do, you’ll be better at it anyway.”
The University of Findlay’s Three-Day Eventing Team was established in 2013, the same year USEA voted and approved the USEA intercollegiate program. The UF team has over 30 members encompassing a variety of majors at the university. The team has access to two indoor arenas, a large outdoor arena, and 70 acres of on-site cross-country fences.
Bellamy, an Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding of unknown breeding, came to Tamra Smith’s farm in Southern California with his mane half-way down his neck and filled with burrs. Bellamy had been sitting in a field for a little over a year after unseating several riders in a row and Smith, known for being good with tricky horses, agreed to take him on.